December 3, 2008

December 3, 2008
Deck the Halls


Welcome back for another day in my life. We are now in the middle of World AIDS Week celebrations here in Jacksonville, Florida.

Today we had the opening of the National AIDS Quilt panels at our city hall. The opening of the quilt is always a very emotional time for me. I still remember the first showing of the quilt in San Francisco many years ago. At every showing, I always request my partner's and godchild's quilt panels so I can view them in person at least once a year. Needless to say, I am usually sitting there with tears streaming down my face. I still miss both of them to this day.

But on to our topic of the day, decking the halls. Most people who celebrate Christmas start to decorate their house soon after Thanksgiving. My partner, Gary, decorated ours this past weekend. I have hundreds of ornaments I have been collecting since I was a teenager. My grandparents had me start collecting them during our trips together. So I have an ornament from almost every place I have visited throughout my adult life.

But we all know about the state of our economy, so this year I thought I would write about 10 Great Holiday Decorating Ideas On a Budget.

1. First things first. Set a plan or a theme for your Christmas decorating. It doesn't cost a thing to have a good plan, and when you are working with budget ideas, this is what pulls your ideas together, and makes everything you do look purposeful, and personal. Some theme ideas for Christmas? The rustic lodge Christmas, a Toyland Christmas, countries around the world, Victorian, country, Santa, snowmen, old fashioned, the list goes on and on!

2. Make garlands out of felt scraps. Cut Xmas shapes out of felt in miniature, mini stockings, holly leaves, mittens, and string together with needle and floss or strong fishing line to hang all over the house. Remember when you string each shape, tie a knot on both sides of the shape to hold it in its place. You can add more dimension to the shapes by cutting two of each, stuffing them lightly, them sewing the two together. Glue would work also if you aren't a sewer. Saved used dryer sheets are perfect for this kind of stuffing, or even tiny fabric scraps that are too small for other uses.

3.Drop a tealight candle in your cleaned out glass mayonnaise jars, tie a holiday ribbon around the neck, and you have a beautiful candle with Christmas charm. You could nestle the candle in peppermints, nuts, or even sand if you wish. Try grouping several together for a dramatic evening effect. These also make great luminaries.

4. Start a Christmas collection. This can be a great tradition to initiate in your home. My girls and I started collecting Santas 3 years ago, and it's something they look forward to, choosing our yearly Santa together. I know it will be a fond memory for them, and I plan to let each child choose a Santa to take with them when the day comes that they leave the nest and start their own home.

By the way, this doesn't have to be expensive, or even store bought. Try sewing or crafting a new decoration each year together for even more memories! Or check out your dollar store. they have some really cute ceramic holiday decorations for a buck or two. Remember, it's the memories you're interested in here, not a collectable based on monetary value.

5. If you are looking to do a Toyland theme for your Christmas decorating this year, try searching out teddy bears and dolls at your local thrift stores. Wash them in a pillowcase and put them in your dryer for at least 20 minutes, then dress them up with ribbons and holiday fabrics. Group them under your tree, on mantels, and on windowsills. Stack small squares of cardboard together and wrap as a tiny present, then tuck them under a teddy's arm, or wrap an empty box and use it as teddy's seat by the front door.

6. Place a few inexpensive glass balls in a bowl and embellish with a few sprigs of greenery or some leftover ribbon. If you don't have an extra bowl (it is the holidays, after all!) try decoupaging a box with leftover Christmas wrap, or cover with a little fabric and glue.

7. Take down your pictures and wrap them like a gift, then hang them back on the wall for great holiday cheer! You don't have to do this all around the house, how about just in the entry, or maybe the dining room?

8. Tie greens or ornaments to the chandelier with a little Christmas ribbon, just make sure they don't hang low enough for any candles on the table to catch them on fire.

9. Make your own gift tags out of leftover paper. Ok, this is not a new idea, but try punching it up a bit. Add details by layering shapes over the base paper, use paper punches and scalloped scrapbooking scissors to add style, use a gold calligraphy pen to add names. Or use the scalloped scissors to make old holiday cards into tags.

10. Sponge stars or other seasonal shapes on your window with paint! No, I'm not nuts. Just add a teaspoon or so of liquid dish soap to acrylic craft paint, (I like white or gold metallic) and after the holidays you should be able to wash it off with window cleaner. Use a non-scratching dish scrubber if you come across a stubborn spot.

There it is, the 10 best budget decorating ideas for Holiday decorating! Always remember the most important reason we celebrate, and the reason we take the time to make our homes warm and inviting, our loved ones! Have a wonderful holiday season.

Wishing you health, hope, happiness and the best of the holidays!



big bear hug,





Daddy Dab